Sunday, 16 October 2011

Specialists study 1

Specialiest study one focuses on one very specific area of animation based on our specialists subject. As I plan to move into stop-motion animation my project this term will help me gain a set of skills that I will utilise in my finial animation.
Along side this we will also be writing a report on our chosen subject.

I have been looking at a number of possible topics to focus on this module and have narrowed it down to the following:
Body Language
Creating atmosphere
Puppet building
Set building
Character Movement
Emotion through the eyes
After considerable thought I have chosen to focus on Set building. My aim is to create a realistic and aesthetically pleasing set For a stop motion animation.

Learning aims
1) To Gain a set of modelling skills that will help me with future animations.
2) To gain experience working with a range of different materials
3) To gain experience in set building
4) To become confidant when building a set knowing what will work and what wont

Set building begins!

Before I start building my set I have to come up with a design, So i have been thinking "what kind of set would enable me to try as many different techniques and materials?" The answer I came up with was a woodland scene, possible a fairy woodland scene so my next step is to come up with some inspiration!

Now I have got a good idea of what my set will include I will be looking at examples of each component!


This picture is particularly useful for texturing my set.

I saw this picture and had to have it this would be perfect for a fantasy set!!


The following pictures allow me to inject vibrent colours into my set in the form of fungi!




Case Study

What goes into a stop motion animation? The fabrication of Coraline
Coraline, unlike other stop motion films uses a combination of traditional stop motion techniques combined with modern 3D techniques. Every aspect of the film has to be hand crafted creating a believable world for the characters to interact with, but how is this done?
Unlike feature films, in stop motion everything has to be built to scale by a whole team of people, from characters to clothes to sets, everything you see on screen has been hand made to give a certain feel to each scene. The most complex aspect of stop motion has to be the puppets. Every character must be ‘animatable’, including their hair and clothes, which have to be individually made to scale as to create the illusion of realism.
In the case of Coraline new techniques were developed to create the most realistic hair ever seen in a stop motion movie. As well as hair, the characters’ clothes must be scaled down, meaning Coraline’s woollen jumper had to be painstakingly knitted with tiny knitting needles and wool to keep everything in proportion. This was the case with every componant of clothing, zips, buckles and buttons all had to be made in relation to everything else on set, Coraline alone has 9 outfits and each one has to be duplicated exactly for different scenes, for example during the fight scene near the end of the film Coraline is rolling through the mud and crawling around on hands and knees, a separate pair of orange pyjamas had to be made for this scene then worn and dirtied specifically. It is this attention to detail that makes the film such a success.

Along side characters the world in which they come alive also has to be built, which is no mean feat as the set must be accessible for the animators to not only animate the characters, but also different components of the set such as grass, plants and trees. This is a mammoth task its self. With sets it’s the small details that make the difference between a set and a location. There is a scene in which the ‘other’ garden bursts into life, flowers bloom before our eyes creating a vibrant and organic scene. Each individual plant had to be animated, a daunting task, made slightly easier by the use of digital effects to create the hundreds of blue blooming flowers, by animating one of the flowers opening whilst surrounded by mirrors meant the animators had several angles of this shot then by digitally imposing the blooming flowers onto the set the animators managed to create a visually impressive sequence. Usually the set will be unnoticed meaning it is convincing enough that the audience believes the world is real, things like grass and leaves moving should tell the audience its windy not that their being animated to look as though its windy. It takes such a long time to produce a stop motion film, so many different people are involved with its creation on small things that if done correctly will go unnoticed.
Other aspects of stop motion, which are hidden from the audience, are the technical devices designed to aid the animators to do their job, rigs that enable characters to defy gravity or create the illusion of plants growing or the armatures. During the film there is only one Coralline but there will be multiple puppet versions of her as well as numerous replacement mouths for lip syncing and showing expression and endless spare hands to replace the ones that will inevitably brake during animation.
It is the intricate workings behind stop motion that make it such a magical format for animation; everything has been touched by human hands, there is a sense of real that you don’t get with CGI or 2D animation.

Working Progress